Following the recent controversial bout with Kevin Lee fighting with an obvious but undisclosed staph infection at UFC 216 I reached out to the Association of Ringside Physicians for comment on when, if at all, it is appropriate to fight with the condition.
Dr. Ray Monsell, chairman with the ARP, was kind enough to respond. After consulting with Dr John Neidecker, an ARP board member who has lectured on this topic, Dr. Monsell advised as follows:
Thank you for your inquiry in staph infections in combat sports. Although the ARP does not have an official position statement on skin infections in combat sports, we believe most ringside physicians would agree with the current NCAA and USA Wrestling guidelines regarding staph infections in wrestlers is a good place to start for this topic. These guidelines are summarized as follows:
An athlete may compete with a non-MRSA infection if he/she have been treated with oral antibiotics for 72 hours. There also needs to be no new lesions or systemic symptoms (fever, fatigue) and no active draining lesions for 48 hours.
For suspected MRSA infections the athlete may compete if he/she have been treated with oral antibiotics for a minimum of 10 days. There also needs to be no new lesions or systemic symptoms (fever, fatigue) and no active draining lesions for 10 days as well. When an abscess is present – MRSA should be suspected.
No one should be allowed to compete with an active draining lesion/abscess.
Again thank you for your interest. The ARP will look to put together and official consensus statement on skin infections in combat sports in the near future.